CURATOR CORNER: September 2023
Curating The Olympic Pin Collection

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is proud to be the safekeeper of around 30,000 objects and that number is constantly growing. We are fortunate to have amazing donors who help us to carry out our mission of telling the world about the Olympic movement and Lake Placid’s rich winter sports history. A recent donation from Mr. Michael Miller, an impressive Olympic pin collector, is now the main collections project going on in the Museum’s archives.

If you have visited the newly reopened Lake Placid Olympic Museum, there is a good chance you might have seen the Olympic Pins case. This case proudly exhibits just under 800 pins from past Olympic Winter Games and it will eventually see some of the pins from the Michael Miller collection make it into the display. When the donation arrived at the Museum, there were a total of 19 boxes bursting with thousands of pins from previous Olympic Games. It is now in the hands of the museum staff to process the collection. Several steps are required for processing a large incoming collection like this – inventory, photographing, cataloging, labeling, and finally rehousing.

Perhaps one of the best parts of processing large collections is the rehousing. Rehousing is the process of putting collections items into archival quality storage and sometimes this involves getting creative with storage ideas to provide easy access to the objects for museum staff and researchers. The images you see here are the storage concept ideas for the pin rehousing project. To collections staff, the rehousing step is similar to the “after” photo in makeover photos. It is a rewarding process to see the early stages of inventory lead to an extremely detailed and organized collection that will help with the Museum’s interpretation of Olympic history in the years to come.